Cleaning House

I’m getting ready to move. I live in a house I inherited filled with memories and clutter and its time to leave – in fact I’ll be leaving for good in a week.

Its a lonely, but satisfying process, sorting my life, as well as my parents and sister’s into piles – keep, storage, charity, give to family/friends, ebay, toss. So often I’ve lost hours distracted by some sentimental item. Sometimes I find things I swear I’d never seen before, despite their being right there in my house.

Beautiful dresses from wonderful moments – weddings or parties – that I will never wear again still require a personal fashion show. As my iPod dance music playlist blares, I try on each item, spin in front of the mirror and then slip it into the appropriate pile.

Yesterday, I tried to sort through several years worth of cards and letters intent on purging the majority of them. So many of the intimate notes came from senders I couldn’t even remember. Love letters I hadn’t looked at in years drew some tears, late night (possibly  ill-advised) emailing, and much nostalgia.  I threw away the ribboned stack of cards received after each parent’s death without opening them. They’d all been acknowledged before and reliving those sad days is something I can’t bring myself to do.

Photos are all coming with me. So many photos. I really should go through them, but I can’t seem to.

This morning I looked around at my piles and decided, per the de-cluttering directions in just about every self-help journal, to cut my “keep” pile in half. Armed with a venti latte I went to work.

My grandmother’s cast iron pans, the only pans on which I’ve ever enjoyed cooking – keeping. Her teacup collection, which is too precious to sell, but I can’t see bringing with me, has become my personal thank you gift. Each helper and close friend leaves with a single delicate china cup. I’m not sure how the receiver feels about it, but I love the thought that everyone I love has a little bit of my history with them. The dozens of bowls I’ve collected over the years (for some reason, I really like to buy bowls) – charity shop. The sheets that have traveled with me since my early summer camp days – tossed.


I’m down to the barest minimum now. I’m not actually sure where I’ll be living. I am planning to be a bit of a vagabond for a while. I have been dreading the process of moving for so long, and yet, now that it’s here, I’ve never felt like I’ve had more!

I’m so excited to live my life without regard to money or acquisition or position. I ready to do things, not have them (although I may never really break the shoe shopping habit). Now if I can just figure out how to sort through the people in my life, so I’m only left with the most positive of them….

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